Most grape growers in the region have the good fortune to have contracts to sell their grapes each year. Everyone knows, especially in difficult times, a contract takes much of the worry out of selling. Those who are not so fortunate to have a contract are most often left to their own devices to sell their year’s labour and inputs. The great majority make numerous calls to wineries in the hope that they can find a buyer but in years of ample supply, such as this, the results of those calls are more often than not, demoralising.
As in previous difficult periods, Riverland Wine (RLW) offered to assist these growers by building a register of unsold grapes. Members simply advised the office details of varieties and tonnes of grapes available for sale, together with their email address and phone numbers. Kate Kroemer of RLW then compiled the register and every Friday afternoon throughout the vintage, sent the details to every winery in SA that crushes more than 500 tonnes. Each week, as many as 50 wineries received the notification with details of tonnes available by variety with growers’ contact details. Kate also emailed every grower on the register each week to verify whether or not they had been able to sell their listed grapes. That was another 30 to 40 emails each week.
Last week the final listing was sent to wineries with 1,317 tonnes still listed. Loxton is the area with most of those at 650; (Barmera 55, Berri 60, Renmark 102 and Waikerie 320). The total had been as high as 10,049 at the end of January.
Although not all grapes have been cleared, it was a great effort and special thanks to Kate, working on her very first vintage, for a job well done.